Somebody’s Husband

by Anne Pierson Wiese

If I had a gold locket with my husband’s picture
in it – which I don’t, and I were dead – which I’m not,
and I could still think while being dead – which I
couldn’t, I’d be happy to think that some young woman
with a penchant for the past had found my locket
in the showcase reserved for special items
by the cash register in the secondhand store,
suspected it of possessing magical
properties, asked that it be extracted
from behind the World War II medals
with their umbilicals of dried ribbon
and the chip-winged porcelain hummingbird,
and bought it for a little more than she could
afford at that time in her life.

I’d be happy to think of her wondering
who he was, what he was like, trying to glean
from his miniature fading features with what
abandon he might have tossed his cap off on his way
through the front door after work, whether he was
a talker, a man who kept secrets – or both,
whether he might have been – discounting time and space
among other things — a man for her. I’d be happy
to think how love for somebody’s husband might live
in a locket, a soundless echo of the human
act – the hands that scrupulously trimmed the black
and white photograph into a wobbly but workable circle
and slid it behind the wisp of glass from under which
it could never again be recalled, so right was the fit.